MSHA: Nearly All Coal Dust Samples Compliant with New Rule

"These results show that the new dust rule is working, and miners should be breathing cleaner air at coal mines," said Assistant Secretary Joe Main.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration reported good news about the coal industry's compliance with the 2014 rule meant to lower miners' exposure to respirable coal mine dust in all underground and surface coal mines: From Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2014 – the first phase of the rule – more than 23,600 dust samples were collected, and 99 percent of the samples are in compliance with the rule. Since MSHA launched its "End Back Lung – Act Now" campaign in 2009, the yearly average of respirable dust levels of designated mining occupations in underground coal mines has fallen every year, and it was the at the lowest level ever recorded in 2014.

The final rule took effect in August 2014.

"These results show that the new dust rule is working, and miners should be breathing cleaner air at coal mines," said Assistant Secretary Joe Main. "Despite concerns from some in the mining industry, most of the valid samples collected have met compliance levels. That's good news for the health of all coal miners and our efforts to end black lung disease."

There were 17,949 samples taken from 319 underground mines during the five-month period, and 252 of those samples (1.4 percent) exceeded compliance levels used to determine whether a violation is warranted.

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